As highlighted in this article, the Bible’s description of God as a self-existent, eternal being who transcends the space-timedimensions of the universe and the Bible’s description of the universe coming into existence a finite period of time ago are remarkably consistent with what laws of logic and findings of modern-day science teach to be true about the universe and the cause of the universe.
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The Bible’s description of God as a being who transcends the space-time dimensions of the universe is consistent with laws of logic and findings of modern-day science teach about the cause of the universe (skip to>>)
Life experience as well as logic and science teach that everything that comes into existence has a cause for doing so (more>>). Since it has now been established beyond reasonable doubt that the universe is not eternal but, rather, came into existence a finite period of time ago (more>>), the universe must have had a cause for its coming into existence (more>>).
However, in order to avoid an infinite regress of causes (a chain of causes that never ends), philosophers have reasoned some being or entity must exist that did not require a cause for its existence, i.e., there must be an initial uncaused causewhich has the quality of beingness within itself (more>>). As pointed out by Christian apologists, the existence of a self-existent uncaused cause is notably consistent with the Bible’s description of God. In fact, the name Jehovah (“Yehovah” in Hebrew), which is translated “God” in English, literally means “Self-Existent” or “Eternal.” [See, Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, OT:3068 (1994)]
Exodus 3:14 says when Moses asked God what he was to tell the Israelites if they asked who had sent him to lead them out of Egypt, God responded:
‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’
According to the Bible, God (“I AM”) has always existed and he always will exist. God never came into existence and God will never go out of existence. He is a self-existent, eternal (aka an everlasting) being:
Psalm 93:2 states that God has existed “from all eternity” or “from everlasting”;
References to God being self-existent are referred to as God’s “aseity” which comes from the Latin “a se” which means “by itself.” In contrast to everything and everyone within the created order which exist “ab alio” (i.e., through another), God is self-existent. [See, William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, pgs. 504 (2003)]. God’s eternal self-existence means he does not depend on anything outside of himself for his existence.
|NOTE: A self-existent, eternal being does not logically require a cause for coming into existence because such a being would never have come into existence – such a being would have always existed (more>>)
The Bible’s Description of God as a Being Who Transcends the Space-Time Dimensions of the Universe is Consistent with what Laws of Logic and Findings of Modern-Day Science Teach About the Cause of the Universe
As explained by Christian apologist and astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, one of the things established by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is whatever the cause of the universe is, that cause must transcend the universe; i.e., the cause of the universe must exist independently of all space-time dimensions of the created universe.
Consistent with Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the Bible describes a Creator who exists independently of the space-time dimensions of the universe. The God of the Bible transcends time because he is an eternal being (more>>). The Bible also describes God as a spirit (more>>) who exists independently of and is not confined by the spatial dimensions of the universe:
II Chronicles 2:6 says, “But who is able to build a temple for him [God], since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?”
In Psalm 139:7, David rhetorically asks God, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
In Isaiah 66:1-2 God asks: ““Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’“
The Bible describes God as an eternal being who is not confined to the time-space dimensions of the universe which, as pointed out by Christian astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, is intriguingly consistent with what the theory of general relativity says must be true about the cause of the universe. Go here to see Hugh Ross’ testimony in which he explains the consistency he found between what he learned about the universe studying astrophysics and what he read about the Creator in the Bible was a significant factor in his becoming a Christian.
The Bible Describes a Creator Who Caused the Universe to Come Into Existence a Finite Period of Time Ago which is Consistent with what the Laws of Logic and Science Teach to be True About the Universe
For many years, scientists maintained there was no need to identify a cause for the universe coming into existence because they postulated the universe never came into existence but was in a “steady state”, i.e., the universe was an eternal entity. However, one of the conclusions that emanates from Einstein’s theory of general relativity is that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning, i.e., it came into existence a finite period of time ago. Indeed, as explained by Christian astronomer, Hugh Ross, because so many scientists were convinced the universe was eternal (i.e., that it never had a beginning), Einstein was persuaded to add an element to his general relativity equation called the “cosmological constant” which had the effect of eliminating the finding that the universe had a beginning.
It was subsequently demonstrated the “cosmological constant” as used by Einstein in his general relativity equations did not exist and Einstein later stated adding the cosmological constant to his general relativity equation was the biggest blunder of his career. Since then, scientists have determined a cosmological constant of a different sort exists but it does not cancel out the expansion of the universe and, therefore, does not eliminate a beginning to the universe by a transcendent cause.
Einstein’s original determination that the universe had a beginning in the finite past is now generally accepted throughout the scientific community. Although there is vigorous debate amongst Christians over how long ago the Bible states God brought the universe into existence (more>>), there is no disagreement over the foundational fact that God brought the universe into existence a finite period of time ago. Consider the following biblical passages recorded by five different biblical authors:
Genesis 1:1 (Moses):
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (the shamayim erets).” In ancient Hebrew, when “shamayim” and “erets” are used together, the phrase refers to the entire physical universe of galaxies, stars, planets, etc. [See, Bruce Waltke, “Creation and Chaos: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Biblical Cosmology” (Portland, OR: Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1974) pgs. 20, 25-26]
Isaiah 40:25-28 (Isaiah):
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing….Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
“This is what the LORD says –
… It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts….
For this is what the LORD says –
he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – he says:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other….
I, the LORD, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.”
Colossians 1:16-17 (Paul): “For by him [God] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible … all things were created by him…. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
John 1:1-5 (John): “In the beginning was the Word (reference to the Son of God), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
Psalm 33:6-9 (David): “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth…. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
Revelation 4:11(John): “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
As set forth above, Christian apologists point out the Bible’s description of God (as a self-existent, eternal being who transcends the time-space dimensions of the universe and brought the universe into existence a finite period of time ago) is remarkably consistent with what laws of logic and findings of modern day science teach to be true about the cause of the universe.
© 2012 by Andrina G. Hanson
Published: July 10, 2012 / Last Updated: May 2, 2013
QUICK LINKS TO SOURCES REFERENCED OR RELIED ON IN THIS ARTICLE
Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman, 20 Compelling Evidences That God Exists: Discover Why Believing In God Makes so Much Sense(River Oak Publishing, 2002)
William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision(Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook; New Edition, 2010)
William Lane Craig, Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time(Crossway Books, 2001)
Peter J. Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics(IVP Academic; 1St Edition, 1994)
J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview(IVP Academic, 2003)
Hugh Ross, Beyond the Cosmos: What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal about the Glory and Love of God(Signalman Publishing, 3rd Ed., 2010)
Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God(Navpress; 2 edition, 1995)
R.C. Sproul, Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology(Baker Books, 1999)
R.C. Sproul “Defending Your Faith” (2001) available at http://www.ligonier.org/store/defending-your-faith-dvd
IMAGE CREDITS & LICENSING
Slideshow Photo: Formal logic icon by “Urutseg” was downloaded from wikimedia.org which states the image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY-SA-3.0). The formal logic icon was superimposed on an image of deep space downloaded from www.nasa.gov.